Foster care is designed to provide temporary care, supervision, and support to children who cannot live at home because they have been abused or neglected by their parents. The Larimer County Kinship Program assists family and friends of the children to become their foster parents, or "kin providers". Children who are eligible have a current open case and their temporary custody is with the Department of Human Services. We believe that children should remain with family whenever they are available and appropriate.
A growing number of children in out of home care are cared for by their relatives. Relatives have no legal obligation to become children's caregivers, but the Department's goal is to place children with relatives or close family friends whenever it is safe and appropriate to do so.
How do I become a kinship caregiver?
Law requires certified kinship caregivers to complete the requirements of standard foster care with some elements being specific to kin families. It will be your responsibility to do the following:
- Complete 27 hours of orientation and training offered here at the Department;
- Become CPR and First Aid certified;
- Complete an original application to care for children and other policy agreements and paperwork;
- Provide authorization for the Department to complete checks of: local law enforcement, TRAILS database of abuse/neglect, Division of Motor Vehicle and CBI/FBI with fingerprints;
- Participate in a family evaluation study conducted by one of our trained Kinship Caseworkers and a home inspection;
- Provide health evaluations signed by a health care provider and a copy of driver's licenses, auto registrations, auto insurance and affidavit of citizenship status for the adults in the home;
- Work closely with the Department to ensure the child's safety.
This process usually needs to be completed within 60 days of the child's placement in your home. In addition to Medicaid services for the child, the Department reimburses for the care of the child on a monthly basis.
Since the requirements of this program are extensive and time consuming, our staff strives to offer a high level of support and resources to assist the kinship family.
Here is an outline of the training that we provide:
- Introduction to A Tradition of Caring
- Understanding the Child Welfare Services System
- Supporting Healthy Development and Managing Loss
- Identifying and Meeting Special Needs
- Providing Guidance and Discipline
- Maintaining Family Connections
- Connecting Children to Safe, Nurturing, Lifelong Relationships
- The Kinship Experience: Family Change
The Kinship Program provides a Kinship Caseworker for each family, a monthly newsletter and training self tests, additional training opportunities, and support and referrals for services for the family.
If you have questions regarding the Kinship Program, please contact Shannon Reiff by email or by calling (970) 498-6595.
Temporary Custody Information
Relatives who wish to provide temporary care, supervision, and support to children who have been removed from their parents' homes due to allegations of abuse or neglect may have the option of having temporary custody of the children. With this living arrangement, the Department of Human Services performs a background check on the relatives and observes the home for safety factors, but the relatives do not have to complete the Kinship certification process to care for the children. DHS will provide information regarding supportive services within the community and help the family with referral to possible financial assistance through the Benefits Planning Division of the Department. Families who have temporary custody of children are not eligible for reimbursement of the children's care, but Medicaid may be available for the children's medical costs. Relatives who have temporary custody of children will still be required by the Court and by the Department to comply with safety plans and protective orders that are put in place to ensure the children's safety.
How do I acquire temporary custody of my relative child?
- If the Department is in agreement with the proposal of temporary custody being transferred to the relative family, it is the responsibility of the child's caseworker to notify the County Attorney in order to motion the Court for this to occur. This may occur immediately, or at a future date.
- If the Department does not support the custody of the child(ren) being transferred to the relative family, it is the relative family's responsibility to file a motion with the Court with the request and provide a copy to all parties involved. The Department will be represented by the County Attorney at the hearing to determine custody.
How do I motion the Court for temporary custody?
If relatives wish to acquire temporary custody of the child(ren), they may file a motion by writing the request to:
Magistrate Carolyn Pannell
201 Laporte Avenue Suite 100
Fort Collins, CO 80521-2761
The motion, or letter, must include the case name and the case number and copies must be sent to all parties involved. Parties include, but are not limited to, the Department of Human Services, the County Attorney, the Guardian ad Litem, the Respondents (parents of the child, if not represented by an attorney), Court Appointed Special Advocates, and Respondent Attorneys.
Relatives who choose to motion the Court for temporary custody may also choose to hire an attorney of their own, however this is not required.
If you have questions about obtaining temporary custody, please contact the child's caseworker or the Guardian Ad Litem. Please remember that only your attorney can give you legal advice.